Last Updated on
July 5, 2024

How to Improve B2B Customer Retention in 2024

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Key takeaways:

B2B sales take time and effort, so anything you can do to retain customers is a good idea. 72% of revenue comes from existing customers, according to HubSpot. If you can keep your customers engaged and onboard, that means better profits for you.

While there is no one magic bullet that will keep your customers happy and engaged, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Keep reading to find out our top eight B2B customer retention strategies.

The Basics of B2B Customer Retention

Before we can understand why the tips below make sense, we need to clarify a few basics about B2B customers and what makes them unique.

First, know that even modest increases in customer retention can pay big dividends. A 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25–95% boost in profits, according to the Harvard Business School.

With that in mind, remember that the B2B sales process is usually much longer and more complicated than B2C sales. You’ll likely contact the same person or business multiple times and engage with them on a variety of topics. It’s not that impulse buys never happen in B2B sales, but there’s a chain of approvals that must take place, so they’re far less likely.

Furthermore, chances are off-the-shelf products and solutions aren’t what you are selling in B2B sales. Sometimes a turnkey solution might be what your customer wants, but more often they’re searching for something that meets their unique business needs.

Do the math

Before you can boost your retention statistics, it’s helpful to know what your current customer churn rate is. Your churn rate is defined as the percentage of customers that stop doing business with you during a set period of time. Usually, this is measured monthly or yearly. To calculate it, use the following formula:

Churn = (Number of lost customers during a period / Total number of customers during that period) x 100.

For example, if you lost seven customers out of a total of 100 customers during March, then your March churn rate is (7/100) x 100 = 7%.

It’s hard to say exactly what your churn rate should be—that depends on your business and what you sell—but we can narrow it down and give you a ballpark estimate. For most companies, you want a churn rate of around 3% to 5% monthly, according to Baremetrics. On the other hand, if you are an enterprise B2B sales business, then your churn rate should be lower, around 1% or less.

Related: Learn the average retention rate for ecommerce, plus a list of tips to boost retention rate for physical products businesses.

8 Ways to Improve Customer Retention

Now that we know the basics of B2B churn and customer retention, we can dive into ways on improving your retention and decreasing your churn rate.

1. Personalize everything

While B2B and B2C sales do have their differences, one thing they both share is the need to personalize everything. As we discussed above, B2B customers are seeking personalized solutions to their problems, so if you don’t make that effort in all your communications, they’re likely to move on to another provider.

This strategy applies to everything you do. Let’s start with the obvious, such as making sure to include a customer’s name in an email or newsletter. Next, be sure you do your research about their specific needs and business. Mention key pain points they’re experiencing and how your service is helping them solve it in real-time. 

If you offer a SaaS, make sure your software solution is also personalized. Whether that is a dashboard specific to your customer’s needs or business or a customized software solution that is built to handle their pain points, the more you make it clear you’ve considered your customer’s needs, the more likely they are to stick with you.

If you sell physical products, make it easy to place repeat orders and offer replacement parts or upgrades. This is a great chance to harness the data you’ve collected on them to preemptively send them reminders about upcoming replacement schedules or maintenance checks.

2. Have impeccable customer service 

After you have landed a customer, they get handed over to your customer support and service team. That team is in a critical position to keep your customers happy. B2B customer retention relies on ensuring your customers feel heard, understood, and have had their needs met.

This means having multiple kinds of customer service available. A helpline that customers can call and speak to a live person is ideal, though a lot of businesses may not be able to offer this 24/7.

Another type of customer service option is online chat. This should be with a real person, not a chatbot. It’s easier to offer this kind of service around the clock, too. Email is always a solid option too, but it is likely best reserved for less urgent needs.

Whatever type of interactive support you offer, remember point number one: keep it personal. Ensure your service reps know who each customer is, have basic knowledge about their needs, and can look up more information about their accounts quickly if needed.

Furthermore, offer self-service support options. These include FAQs, knowledge bases, blogs, video tutorials, and anything else you can offer. Sometimes, customers just need to answer one question quickly, rather than dealing with phone calls or chats.

3. Offer rewards for loyalty

Another tip you can borrow from the B2C world is a loyalty or rewards program. B2B customers also like gaining something for sticking with you as a customer, and this is a retention strategy that’s sure to make them happy.

Try offering a points system that rewards customers for any repeat purchases of parts and services that they can cash in. Or you could offer referral rewards, such as free products, discounts, or cash, if your loyal customer helps you land another account.

Going further, you can offer discounts for loyalty, like 5% off if a customer stays on board for a year, and 7% if they stick around for five or more years. Personalization matters here, too. Offers that are exclusive to your customer make them feel special and act as a reward for being loyal customers.

4. Proactively check in on your customers

Great customer service is irreplaceable, but it’s reactive, meaning it usually happens after the fact. Another B2B customer retention strategy to employ is proactive check-ins.

Schedule these check-ins on a regular basis. Try doing so monthly, quarterly, or on whatever schedule makes sense for your customers. Again, keep personalization in mind and have your contact people do their research. Ideally, have the same person reaching out to one business repeatedly, rather than just assigning people randomly.

Use these check-ins as times to understand how your product or service is helping. Approach with open-ended questions and with the goal to understand, not upsell.

You can check in with your customers using whatever communications channels make sense. Email is low-pressure and 66% of customers prefer it when it comes to being contacted by a seller. It lets your customers respond in writing, which is very helpful for you. Offer the chance to connect via phone call or video chat, too.

Remember to recap what you’ve done so far, ask how it’s going, and offer any tips or advice based on what you’ve seen. Customer retention in B2B sales is a two-way street. You can’t know how well you’re doing unless you ask, so do that.

On that note, you can send out surveys to your existing customers and ask them how well you’re meeting their needs. Or you can ask them to take part in a case study, which gives you great material to attract new customers and makes your existing customers feel special.

5. Offer flexible contracts and subscriptions

While we are talking about keeping customers loyal for months or years, getting them to that point can be intimidating for many of them. That’s why a B2B customer retention strategy worth trying is flexible terms and contracts.

If you can, make it clear that customers can opt out of their contract or subscription quickly and easily. This will help them get onboard in the first place and put them at ease during the first few days and weeks. It also lets you offer discounts or rewards points for switching from a month-to-month contract to a yearly contract, for example.

6. Keep tabs on review sites (or better yet, offer your own discussion forum)

People trust other people more than brands, and word-of-mouth is still king. According to Marketing Charts, 93% of people trust friends and family first as their source of information on purchases. That’s why you should be monitoring forums, Google reviews, and other places where people talk about you and take action accordingly. 

Ideally, you should offer your own forum where your customers can interact with each other and that you can monitor. They can discuss your products and services, the trends of the industry you’re in, and any other relevant topics. You can then see what trends emerge and address any problems proactively, rather than reactively.

Likewise, scour your Google reviews and identify anything in the low-star reviews that you can solve. Respond to customers there, too, but do so carefully and with the aim to solve their problems. See if you can address the issues a customer brings up in a bad review before they jump ship.

7. Get everyone on board

There is only so much that your customer support reps can do at the end of the day. That’s why B2B customer retention relies on everyone on your team. 

For example, if you get feedback from your customers and your reps that they want a specific feature implemented, you’ll need to get the product and programming teams involved, too.

Set up a regular meeting to go over your current churn statistics and retention strategies. This gives you the chance to get everyone on the same page and involved and retaining customers. 

8. Offer a mobile app

If you primarily sell to and communicate with your customers via your website, one of the best things you can do to boost retention is to convert your website into an app.

Smartphone usage constantly rising. The average American spends nearly three hours on their phone each day. More people access the internet on mobile than on desktop, and a growing share of the population are smartphone-only.

Having an app allows you to offer a more convenient, more personalized experience that will keep your customers engaged and retain more business.

Not only are apps more convenient to use on mobile, they're also a readymade retention machine. Having an icon on your customers' home screen makes repeat business far more likely than if the customer has to type in your website every time.

Mobile apps also offer more effective push notifications, which are a more effective and affordable way to communicate with customers than other communication channels.

Launching an app might seem like a big and expensive project, but with MobiLoud it's easy and affordable to turn your site into a mobile app and offer a similar, yet improved user experience to your website, packaged as a mobile app.

There's no coding required, it costs less than 5% of what a custom native app would cost, and can be ready in less than a month. Our full-service platform means little to no work on your end, as long as you've already got a mobile-optimized website.

MobiLoud is perfect for SaaS, B2B ecommerce or any other industry. Contact us today to find out how easy it is to launch your own app.

Related: See how Impact Wholesale launched a 5-star B2B ecommerce app with MobiLoud.

Improving B2B Customer Retention: The Bottom Line

Existing B2B customers are your largest source of revenue, so it’s vital to keep them happy and retain their business.

Remember to personalize every interaction you have with them, offer great customer service, and check in on a regular schedule with them. Offer them rewards for their loyalty and be proactive in solving issues before they lead to churn. 

And one way everyone can benefit, from sales reps and customer support agents to customers and business owners is by offering your customers a mobile app. An app will allow you to communicate with customers more effectively, offer deeper personalization, and make it much more convenient for your customers or clients to shop with you or use your services.

Get started with a free preview of your app, or schedule a free, personalized demo today to find out how easy it is to turn your existing website into an app, for a small investment and with no coding and minimal effort required, with MobiLoud.

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